What picture are you painting?

What Picture Are You Painting

What picture are you painting in your mind about yourself?

Anytime we paint a picture in our mind that’s not authentic or represent who we really are, it leaves an indelible imprint.  It’s an image that we constantly try to emulate, assimilate and redefine based on someone else’s picture.

Recently I attended a paint party.  Paint parties are popping up all over the United States.  They are sometimes held in restaurants, bars and private homes.  Wherever they are held, the atmosphere is jovial and there is always plenty to eat and drink.  The whole idea of a paint party is to have fun while a professional artist guides novices (like me) in creating our own unique work of art.

Like anything we try that’s new, I was apprehensive and didn’t know quite what to expect. In other words, I almost let fear keep me from a fun experience.

As the room filled and everyone takes their place in front of an already set up easel with an attached canvass to start our masterpiece, the artist announces confidently, “our project today is a sunflower”.  As she distributes the various size paint brushes, paper plates to hold and mix the paint, I’m feeling less and less confident.  When the instructor passes out the aprons, I assume this is so we don’t go home looking like we’ve been in a paint fight with a 5-year old.

Of course, the instructor had her sunflower prominently displayed so we all could see what a real sunflower looks like. And, like most of the large group of women (and a couple of men) in the room, I tried my darnedest to follow her instructions and imitate her painting of a sunflower. And for a moment, I thought I might be successful until I noticed my masterpiece had taken on a life of its own.  While the instructor’s sunflower was dead center on the canvass with vibrant colors and perfectly formed leaves, my sunflower looked much like the Italian Leaning Tower of Pisa, known worldwide for is unintended tilt.  My leaves were a little misshapen and drooped casually along the side of the sunflower.  What I intended to be a bright yellow had somehow morphed into a yellowish/orange.

Unlike the instructor, I don’t have years (or even minutes) of painting experience. Nor do I have a natural talent for painting or even a plausible knowledge about mixing paint. Nevertheless, here I am ready to paint my masterpiece!

I’m keenly aware of my strengths and my limitations.  Painting is not one of my strengths.

So, why in the world did I sign up for a painting class when the only thing I’ve ever painted was a wall?

It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece worthy of hanging in the Smithsonian. It was about:

  • pushing through the fear of “getting it right” to experience something new and exciting
  • acceptance (being okay with who I am and what I can do)
  • breaking free of self imposed limitations (e,g,, “I can’t paint”...)
  • letting go of negative self talk (“it won’t be good enough” – good enough for who? -see acceptance above)
  • another chance to get closer to living fearlessly.

Here is what I took away from that painting class –

I don’t have to create like anyone else and I don’t have to be or do anything like anyone else.  I only need to show up as authentically, unabashedly ME!

When I shoved aside my fear, judgment and self-doubt and let go of what I thought the other people in the class would think of my feeble attempt at painting, I created my own unique sunflower (tilted and off-color). My painting may never win me an award or hang in a museum but I got something much more valuable than recognition.

I got self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I experienced yet another opportunity to show up as my authentic, creative, divine self without judgment or self-doubt. And, I had fun doing it.

Now, you can’t put that on canvass!

Is the picture you have in your mind representative of who you really are?

What picture are you painting?

Please take a moment to share comments about your unique picture.

And for more ways to suspend fear, self-doubt and criticism, you may want to read my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

I’m Back From My Fear Trip

Plane Landing

I’m Back From My Fear Trip!

You’re probably wondering what’s a “fear trip”?

A fear trip is one of those trips that mires you in inertia, keeps you from moving forward and creates an atmosphere of doubt and deception.  It’s like being stuck in your own personal time warp and you have the key but can’t open the lock.

A funny thing about fear – you can go along thinking you’ve conquered it and bam! It rears its ugly head when you least expect it.

I thought I was long over the fear of sharing my writing or speaking in a public forum.

So, what happened?

I won’t bore you with all the details but family, illnesses, “anything that gets-in-the-way-of-writing mishaps” and other related incidents kept me off course for months.

In reality, after such a long absence, fear stealthy moved in while I was busy doing other things.

Have you ever let that happen to you?

I’ve overcome other fears before. I put my first blog post out there in 2009, wrote numerous posts since then, published a book, and spoken to many groups. So, why have I allowed fear to keep me from writing for so long?

The truth is, the longer I stayed away, the wider the opening for fear to sneak in and give me room to create a story that I had no evidence to support.

My story was that I would write and no one would be there to read what I wrote and that you would have moved on to read someone else’s blog. That was my story and I stuck to it!

How could I possibly know that?  Can I peek over your shoulder and see what’s on your computer screen?

Remember, FEAR is “False Expectations Appearing Real” and like  most fears – mine were rooted in false expectations without any proof to support my story.

Once I got brutally honest about the real reason I neglected my blog for so long, I was able to dismiss the false “story” I created.

Fear can make a person see something that is not there, or hear something that is not said – Iyanla Vanzant

Does writing this post mean I’ve overcome the fear that no one will ever read my blog posts?

I don’t know…

I do know that one of the ways to overcome fear is to do the thing you fear.

I also know that, at this moment, I’m not fearful. I am taking a risk that you haven’t abandoned me and will let me know you read this by leaving a comment.

Just say hello, I’m still here.

Until next time …(yes, there will be a next time).

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